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Nutrition. 1997 Mar;13(3):185-90.

Nutritional and prognostic significance of insulin-like growth factor 1 in patients with liver cirrhosis.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Padua, Italy.


Most of the traditional parameters for nutrition assessment have important limitations in patients with chronic liver disease. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) has been found to be regulated by nutrition and proposed as a nutritional marker. Its nutritional significance in patients with liver cirrhosis, however, has not been investigated. Serum IGF-1 as well as traditional anthropometric, visceral, and immunologic parameters were evaluated in 64 hospitalized cirrhotics, followed up clinically for 2 y. IGF-1Z-score averaged -2.16 +/- 1.08 and inversely correlated with Child-Pugh score (P < 0.01), the most reliable composite score reflecting the severity of liver disease. IGF-1Z-score was not different in patients with or without signs of energy malnutrition, as defined by values of midarm muscle circumference (MAMC) and/or triceps skinfold (TSF) < 5th percentile. Moreover, IGF-1Z-score did not correlate with MAMC or TSF. Despite its correlation with all visceral proteins, the reduction of IGF-1 was much greater and more frequent than that of visceral proteins. Patients with IGF-1Z-score < median values (-2.5) showed lower long-term survival rates compared with patients with IGF-1Z-score > -2.5 (P < 0.01). These data indicate that serum IGF-1 is not related to energy malnutrition in cirrhotic patients, while it appears to be a good predictor of survival and an early marker of liver dysfunction. Multiple factors, most of which are related to the severity of the liver disease, may contribute to the reduction of IGF-1. This multifactorial pathogenesis probably accounts for its prognostic significance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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